The Blame Game

If today’s post is semi-incoherent, blame my virtually non-stop reading of The First Law series (starting with The Blade Itself) that I recommended on Monday. I’m about a quarter of the way through the last book and I am not going to let a trivial thing such as sleep deprivation and Hapa Papa being in NYC until Thursday deter me. No, sir. I’ve got priorities. (Also, I really should finish the latest Pat Rothfuss novella, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, since it is due on Thursday but it’s hard for me to get into but now I’m getting off-topic.)

Anyhow, it has come to my attention this past year or so that I’m very keen to blame someone or something when things go awry. Whether it is something as stupid as a blown out diaper or as serious as the car dying in the 2nd lane of the freeway (as in, the engine just cutting out and me barely making it to the side of the freeway) while I was driving back from getting ramen at 9:40pm two Friday nights ago (I’m looking at youHapa Papa), I always seem to look for a person to blame. (Looking at Hapa Papa again. Sorrynotsorry.)

I zone in on whether or not the diaper was properly put on, wrapped, or whatever. And then I am quick to accuse and berate and verbally harangue my poor husband. And then sometimes, I realize after being a jerk that it was I who diapered Glow Worm last and then I mumble an apology and try to justify my assishness. (Is that a word? Enh, it is now.)

My children have now picked up on this bad habit. (Well, let’s be real. They probably would have done it anyway – but I’m sure they’ll lay the blame at my feet when they, too, are in their mid-to-late thirties and in therapy.)

And well, lately, it has occurred to me that perhaps this quick to blame and find fault part of my personality and character is perhaps not a good thing.

Here’s the thing: I think I do it because I want to feel in control of my life. Like, if I could just find that moment, that tipping point, then next time, whatever it is I am so keen on avoiding will be avoided because I will have not done whatever it is that caused the thing in the first place.

You get me?

The problem is, lots of times, shit just happens. Maybe if Hapa Papa had paid more attention to the low oil pressure light in his car or got the tiny leaks that Jiffy Lube noticed that morning fixed immediately instead of sitting on that information, maybe then the car wouldn’t have died while I was driving it at 65mph on a late Friday night.

Then again, maybe the car was just old. (It was.)

We can never really know.

But man, it sure feels good or at least, less terrifying, to hang the fault on Hapa Papa’s actions versus just random bad luck or bad timing. (To clarify: I’m not mad at Hapa Papa about the incident. I just like to give him a hard time because that’s the kind of supportive, caring, loving wife he married. Try not to be too envious of the man.)

It is far easier to get mad or point a finger than to accept the unpleasant reality that life is unpredictable and at best, they are just annoying hiccups to deal with and at worst, they are life-changing in a final and horrible way.

I deflect a lot of my feelings in order to feel in control. Control of myself, my feelings, my life. I blame others. I blame myself. I get angry. I scream. I make a joke. All so I don’t have to feel afraid or sad or lonely or adrift or small.

I find this illuminating because you know what? I do all these things multiple times a day and I never really realized that until just now.

Does this mean I often feel afraid, sad, lonely, adrift, or small?

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

 

We Are All Made of Stars

Author Note: Sorry the post today is so esoteric and navel-gazy. My thoughts are all in a jumble lately. A hazard of too much introspection, I suspect.

Going to a new therapist is like dating. You look for chemistry, a general sense of whether the therapist “gets” you, and whether their observations resonate with you and can engender change. Of course, all the therapist can see into your life is what you choose to tell them – and how you choose to tell them. And so lately, I’ve been in the odd situation of telling my doctor (heretofore known as Dr. T) about myself or what I think and feel, and then feeling as if she’s not quite getting me.

Of course, as I am not a trained psychologist, I’m sure she also takes into account a bunch of other things, so she isn’t totally going on what I say alone. And since we are still feeling each other out, there are bound to be misunderstandings. I get that. (And I’ve been quick to clarify or speak up when I feel it’s not quite right. At $140/hour, I’m not wasting sessions!)

But it got me thinking: What makes us who we are? Can we ever see ourselves clearly? Or are we destined, as Paul writes, to see ourselves “through a glass, darkly” (1 Cor 13:12 KJV) until we reach Heaven? Will we ever see each other “face to face”?

I find that not only can I not see myself clearly, I cannot even adequately explain myself without resorting to metaphor.

I am an infinite onion. Just when I think I’ve unlayered myself enough to get to the core, I find that the core I was looking for was really more layers. And that each section I peel back reveals not really my heart, but more protective layers. 

I am an archaeological dig and what we are searching for is my true self. My true motivations buried under centuries of dirt, to be found only after much digging, sifting, and patience. Even then, a dig is only a glimpse of the past, not truly the past.

When Dr. T asks me questions and I answer, and then she draws a conclusion and asks me if the comment rings true, I find myself scrabbling to explain myself.

I am a mixture of oil, vinegar, water, and other debris all shaken up, waiting for the different layers to settle and split. I am all mixed up, all these different aspects of me both true and untrue. I am unsure which is the deepest part, the most true. 

Even this post seems unnecessary opaque; impenetrable.

But seriously, how do we explain who we are? How do we begin to sum up decades of life and experience and feelings? Am I only my thoughts? My deepest, cruelest thoughts? My greatest hopes and dreams? Or am I merely my actions? My worst sins? My best moments? What is the Real Me? And does it matter?

I think of how millions of faithful Christians were devastated to learn that Mother Theresa harbored deep-seated doubts of God’s reality and did not feel His presence for the back half of her life. Does that mean she was not truly Christian? Faithful? Her whole life a lie? Or does that make her even more faithful because she persisted in doing her work and laboring as if God did exist?

And if even Mother Theresa didn’t have herself all figured out, how can I have a chance?

I tell myself that the map is not the terrain. That we are all paradoxes.

I hope that is true. That I am not only just one-dimensional. That we are all infinite. That we are all just a coin toss away from being gods and goddesses.

 

Fear and Loathing

Author’s Note: Not sure how to preface today’s post. For my friends who may worry about me, please know that I am ok for the most part. These thoughts are not the usual state of being for my brain. They do tend to run this way when I spiral into shame or when I despair. (As was the case when I wrote this.) When I was younger, these bouts would last days or weeks. But now, they last for at most, a few hours. 

This is not to say that I am perfectly fine. But mostly, my thoughts are manageable and I am not sitting in pain throughout the day. I am grateful that is the case because I know for many people, this condemning internal monologue is the norm and any respite from it is the deviation.

If you are suffering from Depression, please, GET HELP. You are not alone.

Deep down, I am deeply afraid.

What if they’re right? That I am nothing but a bully. Not good enough. Bad. Causing untold trauma to my kids.

I want to scream, “I can be good, too! I am not all bad!”

But I drown.

I want to stop breathing. Black out. Cease to exist. Except that would cause further trauma to my children.

How can I want another baby?

Jesus, have mercy. Jesus, help.

How do I get out of this dark, closeted space? Could this darkness be a mercy? If so, it is a severe mercy indeed.

I want my heart cut out. I want the earth to open up and swallow me whole. To curl up in a corner and die. Literally die.

Depression lies. 

Please let that be true.


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255. (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)